SOLDIERS said they had never received support like they did last Saturday in Eastwood.
Streets in the town were lined with masses of people waving their flags and cheering the troops on and councillors said it ‘brought tears to their eyes’.
Town Mayor Ken Woodhead said: “It was heartfelt. I was so proud it was unbelievable. The honour that it gave to Eastwood – it made me so, so proud. I had tears in my eyes.
“I want to thank each and every person in Eastwood for coming and supporting the troops. It was a magnificent show. I can’t thank them enough.
“There were that many people and dignitaries from all over. It was unreal.
“I spoke to one of the soldiers afterwards and he said ‘I have done some march throughs in my time but I’ve never felt so emotional at the amount of people that came out’. He said he had a lump in his throat.”
Eastwood Town Council, key organisers of the event, ran out of flags and had to get more, despite buying over 1,000.
Pensioners in every care home in Eastwood and kids at every school came out for the special parade, which saw troops exercising their freedom to the borough.
Sally Barry, the deputy matron at Alexandra House, said every resident was taken out in a wheelchair and they enjoyed it so much they were still waving their flags three days later.
“They had their union jack hats on and were carrying flags. They had a great time,” she said.
“One lady who used to be in the army is still talking about it all. I think it took her back and reminded her,” said Ms Barry.
The office manager at Springbank Primary School said: “It did make me cry. It was quite emotional to see them all.”
Angela Smith, who does a lot of community work in the town and runs the charity Communities Against Poverty said it was good to see such strong community spirit.
“It was moving. It was lovely to see people come out for a shared purpose at a time when communal building seems to be closing down.”
Gloria De Piero said she was ‘wowed’ by the number of people lining the streets and said the parade ‘took her breath away’.
“It was incredible. The street was lined three to four deep from the Sun Inn to Hilltop. I was wowed. Absolutely taken aback.
“It was a huge honour for Eastwood and a huge privilege to enable us to go out and show our support and gratitude for all the brilliant work that out forces do and have done.
“There’s nothing more noble than defending the country.
“It was really amazing and a tribute to all those people. It took my breath away.”
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SOLDIERS from the Royal Engineers marched through Eastwood last weekend and said they had ‘never received support like it’.
Well over 1,000 people turned out to wave their flags and cheer on the troops as they exercised their right to freedom of the borough.
Residents and school teachers said it was ‘moving’ and councillors said it ‘took their breath away’ and ‘brought tears to their eyes’.